8 Orthodontic Supplies You Absolutely Need to Start Cases

Posted by POS Course Adviser on 4/8/16 2:24 PM
You've spent hours studying orthodontic theory and cases and now you're ready to start an orthodontic case of your own. Hooray! You've arrived to the fun part of orthodontics. 
Once you've selected a patient to be your first case, you will need to take a comprehensive set of orthodontic records. It is critical to take high quality, thorough records before starting a case so that you can accurately track the progress of the case. 

 To begin taking records, you will need to purchase certain orthodontic supplies if you don't own them already. Fortunately, many of these materials are reusable with sterilization.  

1. Intra-Oral Mirrors

You will need three types of intra-oral mirrors: adult, pedo, and side view. Purchasing non-fog mirrors is esstential to taking sharp, focused photos that clearly show all the teeth you need to see.

2. Occlusal Photo Retractor

An occlusal photo retractor serves to retract the lips for the important mandibular and maxillary shots. Often these retractors will be double sided to fit adults on one side, and children on the other.

3. Lateral Cheek Retractors

This type of retractor allows for good visual access for lateral shots taken without a mirror. You can have the patient hold the retractors in place while you take the photo.

4. Impression Trays

You will want to purchase a complete set of impression trays so that you can take both upper and lower impressions on adults and children of all different sizes. Be sure to also purchase the appropriate type of impression material that works with the trays you choose.

5. Tray Adhesive

Tray adhesive should be used for added retention of the alginate in the tray.

6. Digital Camera


To take the proper 3 extra-oral photos and 5 intra-oral photos for your orthodontic records, invest in a digital camera. There are several good cameras that take clear, clinical pictures that are under $500. But please, use a camera and not your phone to take your clinical records. To learn how to take excellent orthodontic photos, watch this video.

7. Orthodontic diagnostic software or form worksheets


To perform a thorough diagnosis and treatment planning, you should either use an orthodontic diagnostic software like SmileStream or paper form. While paper forms are cheaper, many doctors like cloud based diagnostic software to make automatic analysis functions or easy sharing possible. Either option helps to organize your diagnosis properly to ensure notation of problems and clinical impressions seen prior to treatment.

Treatment forms organize your diagnosis and assures notation of problems and clinical impressions seen prior to treatment. 

8. Patient Education Materials

Whether you decide to give your patients a brochure or direct them to a website, it's important to set patient expectations so they understand the committment and responsibility of orthodontic treatment.


Most of the orthodontic supplies listed here can be purchased easily online from the SmileStream store. Once you have all the materials in your office, you are ready to start your first case! 

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Topics: My First Ortho Patient, POS Instructor Tips, Tips for Success, Orthodontic Supplies

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